The president and attorney general believe there are no "reasonable" arguments in favor of retaining DOMA. Constitutional attorney John Whitehead disagrees. Whitehead tells me he thinks the Obama-Holder tactic is "an attempt to provide cover for the president's decision to achieve a repeal of DOMA through the courts as opposed to an even-handed evaluation of the strengths of the legal arguments."
Whitehead notes that Holder has acknowledged a binding circuit court precedent which holds that "classifications based on sexual orientation are subject to 'rational basis' scrutiny." Under such scrutiny, Whitehead says, "a legislative classification based on sexual orientation would be upheld if there is any conceivable basis to support the distinction; a court is not to judge the wisdom, fairness, or logic of the legislative choice."
Whitehead adds, "Because rational basis scrutiny is extremely deferential to the decision of the legislature, the determination that it applies to a particular classification basis is usually outcome determinative; where rational basis scrutiny applies, that equal protection challenge is almost always denied."
That is why President Obama and Attorney General Holder are wrong to pre-judge the outcome of this case in the courts, not to mention their rejection of congressional authority. Isn't this ultimately about the separation of powers?
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